March 8, 2012 in Washington Voices

Mead junior founds international club

By The Spokesman-Review
Dan Pelle photoBuy this photo

Mead High School junior Nathan Ruff has started an international club. World history teacher, Dana Rowan and her son, Calvin are seated in the rear.
(Full-size photo)

When Nathan Ruff, who’s a junior at Mead High School, came across the Spokane Sister City Association at a volunteer fair, he was intrigued. It didn’t take long before he was serving as the association’s youth board member and taking the initiative to form an international club at his high school.

“I guess I’ve always been fond of other cultures,” Ruff said. “Especially Japanese and Chinese culture, and I don’t just mean the food.”

He said his ancestors came from Europe, but it was the immigrant and refugee students at Mead High who gave him the idea to start the international club. The club has only met a few times and is just beginning to form a program.

“We have been talking about setting up video chats with students in Japan, but the time difference makes it tough,” Ruff said. “One goal for the club is to really learn about a foreign culture, not just learn the language.”

The club has 10 members and meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month.

World history teacher Dana Rowan is the club’s adviser.

“I think the club will help bridge the gap to the refugee students we have here,” Rowan said. “Some of them have never lived anywhere other than a refugee camp until they move here. They would be excellent speakers.” Ruff said the club has talked about putting together an ethnic restaurant guide for Spokane and having international film nights at Mead.

“I hope the international club will inspire students to travel more or do exchange programs,” said Ruff, who’s in the Running Start program at Spokane Falls Community College. “By the end of 2012 I hope we will have put together a digital media project showing what the club is all about.”

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email